Today’s Rumor Roundup included the tidbit that Jerry Lawler told fans at a recent event about plans for twice-monthly WWE Network events/pay-per-view (PPV)s following the upcoming brand split and SmackDown’s subsequent move to a live Tuesday broadcast.
More specifics came from ProWrestling.net - the event was the 38th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois. According to Jason Powell’s site, this is the same happening where Lawler last year said SmackDown would move to a live Tuesday broadcast. In fact, their report comes from the same fan who reported from that Q & A with Jerry.
Dave Meltzer & Bryan Alvarez spoke about the possibility on today’s Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required but recommended), and while they prefaced the item by saying it was not official and that, like all Vince McMahon ideas, could change based on his mood, the Observer discussing it makes it a bit more real than when it was just King telling stories at a comic-con.
All the reports include the same basic plan: except on months were major shows such as WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble occur, WWE Network will have two, separate monthly Sunday night event shows - one for the Raw roster, one for the SmackDown roster. For example, instead of just Money in the Bank in June, there’d be two PPVs.
No one is saying if these would be MitB red and MitB blue, or if the events would get unique names. Meltzer does believe this would necessitate the return of split World titles.
Beyond that, this plan raises more questions than answers. WWE already typically runs two sets of house shows, so the talent is already working, but putting on a televised event is more expensive than a non-broadcast live show.
Dedicated PPV certainly sends a message that the brands are on a level-playing field, and WWE loves to tell us about their “largest ever” roster. But would fans commit to watching more wrestling/sports entertainment to follow distinct products? Can they book that many shows with smaller pools of talent and keep them fresh?
Sunday night content would theoretically drive Network subscriptions, but would fans make time for those shows by watching less on Monday and Tuesday nights. If so, isn’t this defeating the purpose of SmackDown’s move?
Probably not worth putting too much energy into figuring out something that’s not confirmed and will likely change between now and when/if it actually happens - but we’re wrestling fans on the internet. Putting too much energy into thinking about stuff like this is kind of our thing.
What do you think of idea, Cagesiders? If you believe it should be implemented, how would you do so? If you don’t, why not?